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March 29, 2011 Comments Off on Dan Savage/Terry Miller and the “It Gets Better Project” Book at Town Hall…and, Strangeways takes to the soapbox… Views: 943 Books, Community Events, My Soapbox, Stuff to Do

Dan Savage/Terry Miller and the “It Gets Better Project” Book at Town Hall…and, Strangeways takes to the soapbox…

We’ve flogged this a lot, but it’s an important event, the appearance tonight at Town Hall of Dan Savage and Terry Miller promoting the release of the “It Gets Better” book, the Savage/Miller created website and project to combat bullying and suicide among LGBTQ and questioning youth. Guests like Michael Wells, the former owner of Bailey/Coy books will also share the stage and discuss their own experiences with the project. Tickets for the event are still available with $5 General Admission seats for the talk itself, and $100 tickets for a pre-talk reception/fundraiser.

And, we also realize that not everyone in Seattle’s LGBTQ community is a fan of Mr. Savage, with quite a lot of carping along the lines of “He doesn’t do anything for the community!” and “He, (and The Stranger) are so snarky and negative!” but frankly, we call bullshit on that. Mr. Savage IS a shit-stirrer and a controversial instigator both locally and nationally on not only LGBTQ rights but as a advocate for free speech and frank discussions on all aspects of sexuality via his “Savage Love” advice column and numerous appearances nationally on television, in print and at college campuses across the country. Yes, he and The Stranger can be outspoken and accusatory and even snide at times when it comes to local issues of interest in Seattle and beyond, and that rankles many people in our community. But, the whole notion that all queer people and their allies HAVE to be team players, ALL the time, is frankly an anathema to me. Sometimes, the NEGATIVE needs to be emphasized to point out the problems we have to face. If an individual or institution is not performing up to expectations, I want to know about it and have a discussion about it, whether it’s locally with the late Seattle LGBT Center or nationally, with the performance of HRC or GLAAD. Failing to respond and correct problems within an organization leads to failure. Failing to address such problems or discuss them is negligent internal self-sabotage.

Many people still get hot and bothered over the issues that have faced Seattle Gay Pride over the years and the discussion, frequently led by The Stranger and Mr. Savage, over its function, location, purpose and financial failures have been bitter, unpleasant and divisive but they have also been NEWS and illustrated problems within both the community and its leadership and needed to be addressed so they could be corrected. And, they (The Stranger) did put their money where their mouth is…The Stranger donated a large sum of money two (or was it three?) years ago for prizes for the Pride parade after criticizing the content of previous parades. I don’t recall any other companies or organizations in town stepping up to that plate so publicly. And since then, the content of the parade has vastly improved. The Stranger, and Mr. Savage, routinely report news and stories of interest for the LGBTQ community that no other local outlet adequately covers. Does The Stranger and Mr. Savage occasionally outrage and annoy me on how they cover certain topics? You betcha! At least once a week! I disagree with both Mr. Savage and The Stranger on MANY stances they take both individually and as a whole. But, I’m always appreciative that they start a dialogue about subjects that need discussed, good or bad for the status quo.

As for Mr. Savage and Mr. Miller, both have done plenty for our community. Maybe they don’t attend meetings at the GSBA or attend every fundraiser in town or hobnob with the local queer elite but I think their work with “It Gets Better” and other issues speaks for themselves and their commitment to LGBTQ causes both locally and nationally. I don’t really need for them to judge the local “Miss Gay Drag Queen” pageant or host a fundraising event at The Cuff to “prove” their loyalty. Raising awareness of a serious problem and helping bullied kids from killing themselves is more than enough for me.

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